Working at a Startup: Expectations VS Reality

being a prodigy is not enough, as it is no easy feat.

When we talk about youth and independence, an aspect of the discussion regards an issue on employment. Youth nowadays are called: The millenials, an affiliated-term for those who are born between 1980 - 2000. They are the first generation of digital natives, a generation that have come of age during the time of technological change, globalization, and the internet. And since the widespread adoption of the internet, youth's access and space to self-govern their way around the workforce is widely possible. 

The conventional, mundane, formal office culture is not so much an option for the vast majority of the millenials. Why? because the world wide web age has created a vast digital, global workforce situation where it suits more to the millenials culture, like: work-life balance, diversity and inclusion, and corporate social responsibility (source: Other cool-edge factors like: chill clothing, fun perks, and flexible work-hours are also spices in between all three as an attraction factor for them to join an employment. 

And where do most of this workforce culture resides? in Startups. Within the last several years, startups have become a part of people's daily lifestyle. It has become the talk of the planet for at least a decade. From Silicon Valley to Bangalore, almost everybody have the chance to become CEOs of their own company. But what is a startup, basically? There are actually several thoughts which explain what startup really is. The difference between each is whether it’s a digital or a conventional business. In a nutshell, a startup company is a business that is in the first stage of its operation. For some, it doesn’t even envision revenue yet. But, how come?

Startups like Uber and Facebook penetrate themselves to the market by introducing their unique services and build communities. Grab, which just got stronger with an extra $2 billion last July 2017, is now ready to acquire the South East Asia market and killing its rival, Uber.

Indonesian local startup like: Gojek Indonesia, spreads its wings to wide range of services such as food delivery (GO FOOD), beauty (GO GLAM), automotive (GO AUTO), and payment getaway (GO PAY). In May 2017, Gojek raised its funding from Tencent for at least $1.2 billion, making its value a whopping $3 billion, a similar current number for Grab's company value.

With such figures, there are big possibilities for startups (like the above-mentioned) to build their own culture. We still remember how the movie: The Intern (2015) emphasized the coolness of a startup culture. Jules Ostin, played by Anna Hathaway, created a cool e-commerce office. An office filled with young, tech-savvy workers, riding a bicycle inside the office, gap-free work-spaces, appreciated creativity, stylish attire, free flow this and that, work from home, and macbook for everyone. Cool enough? Yes, and these things indeed attract the millennials.

Which millennial can resist an office that looks like a playground like this?

(Kaskus Indonesia Office. | Image: )

(Kaskus Indonesia Office. | Image:

...or this?

(Google Indonesia Office. | Image: Kompas Tekno)

(Google Indonesia Office. | Image: Kompas Tekno)

But what about salaries? Imho, it really depends on the experience and how someone sells themselves during the interview session. If you are lucky enough, you can earn more than IDR 10 million, which is really beyond the average salary of a Jakartan. Note: the current salary benchmark or minimum wage in Jakarta is around IDR 3,35 million. 

Back to The Intern. This movie also taught us that working in startups is never an easy feet. Without trying to say that building an office like home is to abuse workers’ energy, working in startups could be very exhausting. You will finally meet the myth; endless working hours and analyzing growth metrics every seconds, for 24/7. You are urged to be as savvy as you can, for no function is irreplaceable. Think about a giant talent pool competition. Have we told you that an HR executive of a startup company generated more than 600 applicants only for one position?

Question, how do we start to work at a startup company? And what to learn before we land a job there?

FreakMagz won’t tell you about function. You know yourself better, so of course apply for a function you can do very well. Make a great portfolio. Be the best among competitors within your niche. Don’t lie about your experience, or be ready to be blacklisted. Show confidence! Earn those C-levels’ trust.

One thing you have to concern is do not be blinded by those cool facilities. Pay attention to basic benefits you deserve. Clear contractual agreement, insurance, bonus, and salary increment are things that most fresh graduates forget to pay attention to. At the end of the day, it is only you who can defend yourself. Make everything clear from A to Z, including expectations for both parties.


Are you ready?